Comics Creators

The Music Thread


Should Ian Paice have taken the same tactic? :wink:

I was going to ask about electronic dance bands as singers are almost irrelevant to their lineups.


Tower of Power has had some changes, too:


I went to see them on Sunday. That has always sort of weakened them for me but the concert itself was centered around Mezzanine.

I have A Users Guide to The Fall knocking about, it was never very straight forward. I’ll post about them later when I have the chance. One of my friend’s school teachers played bass for them at one point.


To many yes. A lot of them use rotating singers. I’m also a fan of Oribital and Leftfield who are the same duo as when they started but they never used a single vocalist. Some are also entirely instrumental.

However some do use a ‘frontman’ approach. Just because @Hank mentioned them the other day I was reminded of M People and I’d have no interest in seeing them without Heather Small singing the songs.


Sometimes that’s the case, but there are a lot of instances when the front man is a huge part of the sound - Karl Hyde from Underworld, say, or even ‘Scooter’ from Scooter, who are a band but many people have it in their head is one person.


I’m jealous as I’ve never seen them and I’m a big Adam Curtis fan. A friend of mine though went to see that same show at the O2 last week and hated it because everyone just chatted through it.

Saying that it is a downside with London shows, I saw Prince once at Wembley Arena and it was rather spoiled for me by everyone around me being too cool to dance and being disconnected from it alll. I think a lot can just look at Time Out and see what’s on tonight rather than be fans.

I also saw him at Manchester Maine Road and Rotterdam with the same show and the gigs were electric.


I think that Theseus bloke has just blatantly ripped off the idea of Trigger’s Broom.


Ha ha, Trigger’s broom is a classic.


Great topic, @RonnieM !

Reading through this thread, I thoroughly agree with @davidm’s opinion that Yes stopped being Yes when Jon Anderson was no longer with the band. Even though bassist Chris Squire was the original cornerstone of that band, Anderson’s voice is (literally) the voice of Yes.

With the recent hoopla about Lindsay Buckingham being fired from Fleetwood Mac, it should be pointed out that neither he nor Stevie Nicks (reportedly the reason behind Buckingham’s dismissal) are original band members. They joined together in late 1974, whereas the band was formed in 1967 as a blues/jazz group anchored by Mick Fleetwood’s drums and John McVie’s bass.

And then there’s Pink Floyd, which currently consists of guitarist David Gilmour and a bunch of musicians; which is ironic, as Gilmour was not a founding member of the band. He joined in late 1967 after the band had released its debut album, soon replacing Syd Barrett as lead guitarist and vocalist when Barrett left in 1968. Somehow Gilmour is allowed to retain the band name, even though original Floyd members Roger Waters and Nick Mason are still alive and still performing music live (though not together – too much bad blood there).


ToP was the opening act to the first big concert I attended, CCR at the Inglewood Forum. Years later, I hung out with Doc and Mimi (Emilio) fairly often for a bit. There was even one day when it was Doc, Mimi, me and Robbie Krieger (guitarist for the Doors) at a buddy’s house. Good times!

I’ve been trying to dig up personnel lists for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra in hopes my dad was listed somewhere, so far without joy. Think modern bands change players? Those big bands were rotating doors!


The idea behind the Ship of Theseus is kind of what I was getting at but there seems to be a more emotional response with bands. I think people tend to be more invested in them and particular incarnations.


Ya. I was sure there were electronic dance bands that did have a lead singer that was a driving force but it’s less common in that genre than rock. There are bands like Prodigy where the general public would assume Keith Flint was the main creative force when he was originally just a dancer.


It really does. I’m inclined to agree with Gar in that for a typical rock/pop group, the primary vocalist is probably the main thing.

Oasis was started by Liam and three musicians. Noel joined that band as guitarist and songwriter (and later sometime vocalist). Those three other musicians had all left the group and been replaced by the time the band ended. At which point Liam and two of the band formed a new group (Beady Eye), while Noel went solo.


Beady Eye is technically more Oasis than Noel solo, but they didn’t take off.

Liam is also solo now and both he and Noel perform Oasis songs live (Noel even has 2 of the Beady Eye guys in his touring group), but Liam’s show seems more like an Oasis gig than Noel’s.


With bands, it’s complicated.

A number of bands will be based around the vision of a single member like The Cure (singer/guitarist Robert Smith), Iron Maiden (bassist Steve Harris), or Nightwish (keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen), so those groups revolve around that member and whoever is playing with them at any given time.

As a general rule, singers — even if they aren’t the prime creative force of the group — tend to be the public face of a band and the audience’s focal point, and they are tricky to replace. Van Halen effectively became a different entity when Sammy Hagar replaced David Lee Roth. Sometimes it works, like when Bruce Dickinson replaced Paul DiAnno in Iron Maiden and Brian Johnson took over vocal duties in AC/DC after Bon Scott died. Other times fans reject the new frontmen, like when Ripper Owens replaced Rob Halford in Judas Priest, or Blaze Bayley replaced Bruce Dickinson in Iron Maiden.

Outside of singers, I think most bands — unless you’re like the Beatles or Motley Crue where everyone functions as a frontman — can replace a member or two like a bassist, drummer, or rhythm guitarist, without much ado.

The Rolling Stones are down to just Mick, Keith, and Charlie, and nobody really seems to notice. But it’s kind of funny to think that the “new guy” Ronnie Wood has been with them for four decades and been with the band longer than founders like Brian Jones and Bill Wyman. Or, considering the Richie Blackmore mention, Steve Morse has played with Deep Purple longer than Blackmore did.

Then you have bands like Whitesnake that has a former Deep Purple replacement singer and an ever-changing lineup of journeyman English rock musicians who seem to join that band between other gigs.

And then there’s Quiet Riot, still out and about, despite its longest-serving member being drummer Frankie Banali, who only joined the band on their third album, “Metal Health,” though that was their commercial breakthrough, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, with only one constant founding member and the brother of their dead singer.

But there’s not a hard and fast formula as to when these bands should probably call it a day. I know at what point I can say, okay, this is bullshit, just end it already, to any band, but it’s really a personal call.


I’m not far off being in the same boat I’m afraid. I understood going in that it was going to be about visuals and musicianship but my friends decided that it would be better if it was about getting hammered. Several of my favourite moments and songs were ruined and after Angel and Teardrop, which 80% of the crowd were only there for, people just started either leaving or completely ignoring the epilogue to the narrative which ran throughout the show. My mate also pissed on my car and I’ve never been so embarrassed by behaviour at a strip club in my life. It wasn’t a great night, all in all.

*Ah that’s being harsh, I did enjoy myself.


So The Fall is a weird one because it was started by four people who learnt instruments in order to form a band. Mark E. Smith didn’t pick the name or particularly like it. They had a Yoko Ono situation very early and that meant the line-up changes started to happen because people couldn’t deal with Smith’s girlfriend managing the band. They have had several long term members over the 40-ish years they were around but the strangest thing is that while Mark E. Smith ‘wrote’ the songs, he didn’t play an instrument, he sang the songs and wrote the lyrics and yet The Fall had the same musical style for the whole time they existed (over 30 albums worth), so the sound created by original members stayed consistent throughout despite Smith not playing a note. It was almost like they were a possessed entity that Smith laid his poems over, which suits the fact that one of the main reasons that brought the original members together befefore they formed a band was a love for HP Lovecraft.


Vaguely related to this discussion, but tomorrow I’m going to see Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, probably the best Grateful Dead cover band there is. They play high energy, imaginative shows, draw pretty big crowds, and there are even fans that like them and don’t even really like the Dead.

Then on Saturday I’m going to see Bob Weir, one of the original members of the Grateful Dead. He’s only been playing these songs for 50 years or so.

They’ll both draw songs from the same well, and both should be good. It’s an interesting exercise in authenticity and keeping a band’s legacy alive. The Dead themselves rotated through many members until Jerry Garcia died in the 90s, and they felt that without him they couldn’t call themselves the Grateful Dead anymore.


Related to the Ship of Theseus aspect of band dynamics, there’s also a curious phenomenon among 80s hard rock and heavy metal bands where the bands effectively split in two and there are then two versions of the same band, usually one is fronted by the original singer backed up by session players, and the other is what remains of the original instrumentalists with a new singer.

It’s happened with Ratt, Queensryche, Great White, Faster Pussycat, and L.A. Guns. Bands like Black Flag and Yes have also done similar splits, but it seems to be a thing with 80s hair metal bands and LSD. (Lead singer disease.)

I’ve always found this ironic since, by the time these bands go through the mitosis process they’re all well past their cultural and artistic relevence, and there’s barely enough public interest to support one version of them, let alone two.


Ripper Owens is local. I know some people who knew him growing up. My wife used to know one of his old cover band mates, Lou Kolasky.

Owens is kind of an example of what I meant by bands turning into cover bands of their own material.


It may not be limited to them though but you follow them more closely. This article has a few others across pop, punk and reggae:

I think that just touches the full list too, at the top end you’ll have Pink Floyd and Roger Waters playing Floyd material and both still selling out stadiums and then at the nightclub or small theatre circuit there’s a lot of 1-3 hit wonders from the 80s split into factions and trading on the name.